Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thursday Preview: Between Worlds (Preview #1)

The envelope please!

Thrilling Wonder Stories Origins Series #2 is...

Between Worlds, by Garret Smith!

(long pause, sound of crickets)

Okay, it's not nearly as well known as When the Sleeper Wakes, but that's pretty much the point. As we say on the back cover banner of each book in the series:

Science Fiction from before there was "Science Fiction." Whether they called it "scientific romance," "scientific fiction," "scientifiction," "fantastic mystery," or just "'different' stories," it laid the foundation for a new genre. Thrilling Wonder Stories Origins Series brings back the great authors and stories of the formative years of SF.

And brother, are we bringing Between Worlds back. As far as I've been able to tell, this is the first edition of the novel since 1929, and the first it's appeared anywhere since the edited and altered version in Fantastic Novels magazine in 1948. Anyone can bring out an edition of, say, A Princess of Mars. (Look it up on Amazon--it looks like everyone has.) But it takes guts to restore a novel to print after 81 years, by a writer no one's heard of.

Garret Smith (1876?-1954) was a prolific author of the early pulp era, writing primarily for Argosy, and working in many genres. His other works of scientific fiction include On the Brink of 2000 (1910), After a Million Years (1919), and The Treasures of Tantalus (1920-1).

I'd already decided to publish Between Worlds when I found out about the 1929 edition. Who published it? Hugo Gernsback's Stellar Publishing Corporation, as the first in their Science Fiction Classics series. You just can't mess with that kind of kismet.

And speaking of its publication in Fantastic Novels... our edition features the five full-page illustrations from that issue, drawn by Virgil Finlay. And they're gorgeous, even for Finlays. Three of them have appeared in collections of his work. The other two make their first appearance in more than sixty years in the pages of our little book. (Well, not so little as all that; it's 184 pages.)

Between Worlds was one of those "'different' stories" mentioned in the banner text. That's the phrase the Munsey magazines used for tales with an element of the fantastic. And Between Worlds originally ran as a five-part serial in Munsey's Argosy in October and November 1919.

It's also as good an example as you can find of "scientific romance." Not so much for what's usually known as romance, although it does have that. But what Between Worlds has in spades is, to quote from my Langenscheidt's, "imaginary characters involved in events remote in time or place and usu. heroic, adventurous, or mysterious" and "an emotional attraction or aura belonging to an esp. heroic era, adventure, or activity."

Between Worlds is the story of Hunter, son of the Chief Patriarch of Venus. To Hunter, Venus is the "Land of Never Change," its culture and civilization as static as its eternally light and cloudy sky. (When the novel was written, Venus, like Mercury, was thought to keep one face always towards the Sun.) He outfits an expedition to broaden his people's frontiers. As this week's preview begins, Hunter, his friend Scribner (editor of the Central Chronicle of Venus, and the tale's narrator), and his crew set out from the Land of Light to discover new worlds. As the odyssey begins, they have no idea what kind of worlds they will ultimately find....

Click on the cover image at the upper left to read the pdf file in your browser, or do whatever you do with your browser (usually right-click with a two-button mouse, or control-click with a one-button mouse, and select "Download Linked File") to download.

1 comment:

lartronics said...

For more information on Hugo Gernsback check out a new biography available on Amazon.

The document was found by me when we closed down Gernsback Publications in 2003. It was an old ms that I edited and produced as a book.

Follow the link and you can go to the book and thanks to Amazon’s “look inside” feature, you can even get an idea of what it covers.

Hope you find it interesting.

The book is also available as an E-book for the Kindle or your PC or Mac at Amazon. Here is the link:

For more information feel free to contact me, Larry Steckler, at